WristWatch Magazine - Page 130

EDIT NOTE USA is deceptive to consumers and should be stopped.” He then further responded to numerous comments challenging his statements with: “If you are curious which brands are practicing deceptive advertising, you will find the answers within a couple minutes on Google.” It could be interpreted that Manousos had already made a mental list of companies he deemed were not American enough to call themselves “Made in USA.” Manousos revisited the subject with a canary-eating follow up piece entitled, “The Federal Trade Commission Takes Action Against Deceptive Practices in the American Watchmaking Industry” (Hodinkee, November 2015). He cited a closing letter from the FTC addressed to new American watchmaker Niall, signed by Ensor. The piece also contained a mini interview with Ensor, wherein Manousos asked questions, which could be construed as leading, concerning the use of the terms, “Built in Detroit” or “Made in NYC.” Interestingly, Detroit-based Shinola became the subject of a follow up Manousos’ piece, “Shinola to Keep ‘Built in Detroit’ Marketing THE NOT-SO-GREAT AMERICAN WATCH INDUSTRY SCARE OF 2015 Scares and lists have historically gone hand in hand. They can be Despite FTC Guidance,” (Hodinkee, December 2015). The Hodinkee editorial, and (strangely) resultant FTC investigation, begs more questions than it answers. Did someone provide the FTC with a list of companies to investigate? Does this kind of coverage mean that Hodinkee is attempting to become the Consumer Reports of the watch industry, and if so, shouldn’t it also cease taking advertising and attempt to survive on a subscription model? To provide even handed coverage, will Hodinkee be running investigative pieces on other trademarks and regula- good for business and careers, as long as you’re on the side holding the tions like “Swiss Made”, “Made in Germany”, or any other origin and/or spotlight, or hiding in the shadows behind it. The new movie “Trumbo” usage terms endemic to the watch industry? Manousos did not respond to a details a talented Hollywood screenwriter’s struggles with being placed on request for commentary at the time of publication. a blacklist of “Un-American Americans,” known as the “Hollywood Ten,” Every scare has its winners and losers. We may hear of more FTC during the late 1940’s. In the 1950’s Senator Joe McCarthy propelled investigations of American brands if, as Manousos stated, they bother his name into the national limelight with the Red Scare and his list of to do a “Google search.” The losers in this story are clear: the slowly “members of the communist party.” In 2015, the American Watch indus- growing American watch industry, which now has to defend the name it’s try struggled with its own scare concerning overstated claims of Ameri- attempting to make for itself against the well-entrenched Swiss marketing canism, which somehow wound up on the FTC’s radar, after an editorial juggernauts. The winners are playing in the murky shadows of Hodinkee’s appeared on the watch blog Hodinkee. investigative spotlight. The scare seems to have started a few months after the publication The American watch industry has been a relatively respectful com- of an article entitled “Smoke and Mirrors in the American Watchmaking munity, and although competitive, has proved sympathetic in light of this Industry” (Hodinkee, August, 2015), by blogger Nick Manousos. Manousos scare. The players seem to have each other’s backs. But this episode has stated his case for the use of the term “Made in USA” by American watch cast a greenish light on the party; someone seems to have peed in the companies, and provided the transcription of a lengthy conversation with punch. I am somehow reminded of Al Pacino’s famous line from Godfather Julia Sol